I’m making one of my new favorite snacks. I learned this from Cheryl in an exercise class. The main ingredient is raw, shelled almonds. A three-pound bag at Sam’s Club or Costco is about $9.00.
The secret ingredient is Ume Plum Vinegar. Sound exotic (i.e., expensive)? It’s only about $3.25 a bottle! I found it at our local natural foods store, but it is also available online from Eden Organic.
Pour about a pound of almonds into a 2-quart bowl. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of Ume Plum Vinegar onto the nuts. I don’t measure this. The bottle’s design is perfect for shaking a small amount of vinegar. You can add more, but I don’t know that there’s such a thing as too much. (More vinegar will result in a darker, almost black finished nut; less and they remain golden.) Stir well, till all the nuts are coated. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet (cookie sheet).
Toast in a 350 degree oven (not preheated) for about 20 minutes, until the almonds smell toasted and are crunchy when cooled. (Too little toasting will leave them soft-ish). I’m at 4300 feet elevation, so my altitude may influence the amount of time it takes. I set a timer, but go by the doneness of the nuts…start with 15 minutes. Test by pulling 3-4 nuts out to cool, bite, and decide whether to continue toasting until you get the time that’s right for you.
I prefer them slightly undertoasted to overtoasted. If you let them roast too long, they’ll be very dry, almost powdery, while chewing. (Have drinking water handy!)
What’s great about this recipe is the almonds come out with no taste of vinegar but with plenty saltiness without your having to add oil to make salt stick! The Ume Plum Vinegar has 1050 mg of sodium per teaspoon! That’s about the same amount as 1/2 teaspoon of table salt.
These toasted almonds are a huge hit with guests. People can’t stop munching on them. I keep a dish of them out all them time.
- though the baking sheet washes easily, I put a piece of foil on it so I don’t have to wash it at all
- if you get ambitious and toast more than a pound at a time, use more baking sheets. It’s almost impossible to stir the nuts enough while baking to get them toasted evenly if you put too many on one baking sheet.
- when you remove them from the oven, they’ll continue to bake as long as they are on the cookie sheet, especially if you have the non-stick kind with the double and insulated bottom. Spread a clean dish towel out on the counter, and dump the almonds quickly onto the towel. Spread them out a bit with a utensil so they cool faster.